Keeping Quiet Can Keep You Out of the Game… a Mother’s Story

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Author: brokenbrilliant

I am a long-term multiple (mild) Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or TBI) survivor who experienced assaults, falls, car accidents, sports-related injuries in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. My last mild TBI was in 2004, but it was definitely the worst of the lot. I never received medical treatment for my injuries, some of which were sports injuries (and you have to get back in the game!), but I have been living very successfully with cognitive/behavioral (social, emotional, functional) symptoms and complications since I was a young kid. I’ve done it so well, in fact, that virtually nobody knows that I sustained those injuries… and the folks who do know, haven’t fully realized just how it’s impacted my life. It has impacted my life, however. In serious and debilitating ways. I’m coming out from behind the shields I’ve put up, in hopes of successfully addressing my own (invisible) challenges and helping others to see that sustaining a TBI is not the end of the world, and they can, in fact, live happy, fulfilled, productive lives in spite of it all.

2 thoughts on “Keeping Quiet Can Keep You Out of the Game… a Mother’s Story”

  1. BB –

    As you know I am a BIG believer in exercise – and I believe that cross training is good for many reasons. After my injury I took up a cross-section of sports and I know, 100% that it was very very powerful in helping me deal with cognitive issues – not just physical ones including sensory integration and focus. I researched a lot on sensory integration techniques that are used with autistics and found that this was helpful for many autistics as well. Recently I learned of something called conductive education with is done with a variety of neuro-based disorders.

    When I was first injured my processing was so slow that I was literally able to watch the process of thought in my head. What struck me so powerfully about this was how very complex thought is – a response, finding the right words, putting them together, speaking – the act of saying a sentence had always been so fluid but in truth it’s an amazing capacity. Similarly the act of running, swimming, bike riding, playing a game – any kind of physical activity – it’s about balance, and movement, and focus and a vast array of sensory data. It’s about timing and speed and co-ordination and self-awareness. Exercise can also aid in creating a meditative state, which – although a ‘calm state’ – actually can wake you up. Exercise is vital for tbi – but many shy away because of fear of injury, and that is a mistake.

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  2. It never ceases to amaze me, how much you can actually accomplish with a little effort. The whole exercise business seems like it’s often geared towards “extreme” ends of the spectrum, where only elite athletic efforts at extreme ends of the spectrum are recognized. But in fact, there’s the super-slow end of the spectrum, which involves very (and I mean very slow) movements which actually build more muscle, strengthen more thoroughly, and reduce the risk of damage to joints and connective tissues. “Faster” is often equated with “more athletic” — but that can lead to injury. “Longer” is often viewed as “more fit” as well, but that can lead to loss of muscle mass, limited strength, and repetitive stress injury.

    In fact, people can get a tremendous amount of benefit from slow movements with light weights, which do not put them at the same risk of injury that fast and heavy exercises do. And it’s a great place to start out, if folks have been sedentary for a long time prior to starting their new fitness program. There are basic movements that work great, don’t wreck your system, and provide huge benefits if done regularly.

    One thing I really like about the crossfit approach (from what I’ve seen so far), is that it treats fitness as a full-spectrum state. It’s not just about who can run the farthest the fastest, but who can do the widest range of exercises the best.

    I’m checking out conductive education right now. It looks fascinating — and totally common-sense. Pretty cool. Thanks for the tip.

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